Since Mountain Xpress‘ last report on people and businesses around Asheville working to aid those in need in the wake of Nepal’s devastating earthquake, efforts have redoubled, and more of those involved have become visible.
Local musician Josh Phillips‘ adventures in Kathmandu have come to a close for now, and he is safely out of Nepal. He shared the news of his evacuation on Friday. He is continuing his efforts to raise money for the Triratna Avashiya Vidyalaya orphanage in Kathmandu, Nepal. Tonight, Tuesday, May 5, Timo’s House is hosting a relief benefit for Josh’s cause.
The owners of Kathmandu Cafe, Sushila and Manoj Lama, in addition to the efforts reported last week, are hosting a benefit dinner in the restaurant Wednesday, May 13. For more information, see flier on right.
Two other locally connected grassroots relief action groups are also helping in the effort. The first is led by Harry Marchant, an entrepreneur and sometime resident of Asheville, who, in the midst of starting a “conscious capitalism” model business called Native Nepal, has taken up the cause of helping villages hard hit by the earthquake. He was in Varanasi, India, with plans to continue traveling into Nepal, when the earthquake struck. He says he felt the quake even that far away. Instead of canceling his travel, he continued into the thick of the disaster to bring aid where it is most needed. Matthew Childs, former proprietor of Indigenous Teahouse in Asheville, is helping Marchant with relief efforts and documenting everything as a videographer and photographer. They are working directly with a group called Damside club in getting supplies to small villages, and have had one successful aid excursion already. They managed to make it into Apswara in the Gorkha district with a truck full of supplies. To support their efforts and read more about their efforts, visit the Native Nepal page or email Harry at email@example.com.
The other group is a family affair. Local oncologists Mridu Chand and Mohan Chand Thakuri are making plans to travel to Nepal June 12 to provide direct aid efforts. Mridu says that they chose to settle in Asheville because “it reminded us of Kathmandu. We know … that this is a community that cares.” They have chosen to conduct their fundraising and volunteer efforts through the America Nepal Medical Foundation. Their family lives in Kathmandu, and with the exception of property damage, survived relatively unscathed. “Needs are changing day by day,” says Mridu, so it is difficult to be perfectly prepared to provide what is needed. By the time they travel there, she expects that most people will have some kind of shelter, and the biggest problem will be disease control — especially because potable water is in short supply. The airline they are traveling with is allowing extra baggage, so she hopes to take water-purification equipment and solar-powered flashlights. She also hopes to contribute to an answer for the long-term problem of safe housing for the thousands of newly homeless.